By Ross Jackson
In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
Tuesday August 1 2017
Blyth Spartans 0-3 Whitby Town
A much-changed Blyth Spartans slipped to defeat in their final pre-season friendly at Croft Park – as a strong finish saw Whitby Town victorious.
One of the visitors’ trialists staked his claim for a place in the squad with a goal on 73 minutes, before Kieran Weledji added a brace in the final six minutes to seal the win.
The game started in competitive fashion, but with few chances of note. Andy Monkhouse blazed over from the penalty spot when handily placed in the fourth minute for Whitby, before Blyth’s David McTiernan smashed a 30-yard drive toward the top corner only for Shane Bland to push clear on the stretch.
Played at a good tempo in the final friendly before the league opener at Alfreton Town, Blyth pressed for a breakthrough which nearly arrived on 17 minutes – as Dale Hopson, up against his former employers for the first time since his summer switch, chipped a ball to one of the many trialists on display. The latter had his shot blocked by Bland, before the rebound was dragged wide by another trialist.
Whitby were providing a strong final opponent for the Spartans and they went closest to scoring after 26 minutes, through the spritely David Carson. However, having been played in down the right side of the area, the winger saw his shot across goal blocked by the legs of Blyth stopper Shaun MacDonald.
Hopson – seeking a goal against his former side – sent a stinging drive goalward from the edge of the area, but it was pushed clear by Bland before a trialist midfielder had his follow up effort blocked by Callum Martin.
There was still time before the interval for the visitors to threaten, as Carson rampaged forward. However, his effort was saved by MacDonald and the half-time whistle followed immediately after.
The game hit a lull midway through proceedings – as a succession of changes disrupted the flow of things, but three trialists combined to create a clear opening just after the hour.
With a quick counter, Blyth found themselves in on goal on the left. The trialist substitute could only dink his effort on to the crossbar, with his fellow trialist unable to net the rebound.
Six minutes later, Matthew Tymon provided a timely warning when he sent a low drive wide – after a neat cut back from substitute Weledji. Although, it only proved a preview of things to come, as the visitors struck decisively on 73 minutes.
Tymon once again held his run as the ball was cut back from the right, but this time he side-stepped the challenge. This allowed him to turn provider for Whitby’s trialist to slam home from the edge of the six-yard box.
The away side were finishing the stronger and went close on a few occasions, with Monkhouse’s fizzing low drive needing a strong hand from MacDonald to push it around the post.
There was still time for a second Whitby goal – as one of their trialists attacked the left side of the box, before sending it across goal for Weledji. The midfielder – with despairing sliding challenges coming from all angles – dinked the ball over one prostrate defender, before smashing the ball into the back of the net from two yards.
With the game heading for the final whistle, the trialist Whitby goal scorer had his say, bursting down the left before firing at MacDonald. His shot was cleared only as far as Weledji, who added to his personal tally for the evening.
All eyes turn to Saturday and Blyth’s first Vanarama National League North game of the campaign, away at Alfreton Town.
Blyth Spartans: MacDonald, Cartwright (Trialist 65), I Watson, A Trialist (Trialist 65), A Trialist, Mullen, A Trialist (Trialist 58), McTiernan (Trialist 69), A Trialist (Trialist 69), Hopson (Hooks 58), Trialist.
Subs not used: N/A
Whitby Town: Bland, Martin, McWilliams, McGoldrick (Andrew May 46), Bythway (Trialist 79), Snaith (Trialist 79), Gell (Hume 53), Carson (Trialist 79), Roberts (Weledji 64), Tyman (Fryatt 79), Monkhouse.
Subs not used: N/A